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Working with Meta Tags

What is a Meta Tag

Meta tags provide search engines with information about the content and purpose of a website. The usefulness of meta tags for search engine placement has changed in recent years as companies such as Google and Yahoo! have changed the way they index web pages. However, the effective use of meta tags is the first step in categorizing your site for these and many other search engines. Two meta tags are still very important to include on every page:

The meta title tag: <meta name="title" content="Web Hosting help tutorials" /> and
The meta description tag: <meta name="description" content="Step by step instructions about web hosting" />

What is a Title Tag

Your website's title is an important part of your site's HTML code. The title should inform the user about the contents of the page. A reader should be able to assess what the page is about by reading the title. A title tag is typically 60 characters or less.

If you own a retail and wholesale paint supply store in Denver, Colorado, then your title may look something like this:
Wholesale & Retail Paint Supply Company | Denver, Colorado
Try to use as many keywords as possible.

What are ALT Tags

ALT tags are used in HTML to describe a graphical element - they become visible when you hover over an image to which the ALT tag is attached. They are especially important for people who choose not to view images, use browsers that do not support images, or who are visually impaired and use a browser that reads the page aloud. Using ALT tags is also a good practice for search engine placement, as most search engines treat the contact of an ALT tag as regular text which is indexed.

Make a Meta Tag

Typically, meta tags for website title and description are inserted into the head section of your website. If you look at the HTML for your site, it might look something like this:

Meta tag

There are three components for meta tags. To get the best results, follow these guidelines:

  • Title: This is your first chance to sell your website when it appears in search results. It is a summary that will appear under your link and should describe your business in seven words or less.
  • Description: The description will appear after the title and provide additional information about your Website. It should be a brief description of your business and your products and services. Make it a concise, engaging summary that will entice the reader to visit your site.
  • Keywords: Due to keyword stuffing and other techniques to fool search engines, the meta keyword is of very little importance to search engines. A shortlist, as shown above, should be enough keywords.

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